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GOP senators unveil bill to bolster Taiwan's defense against China

GOP senators unveil bill to bolster Taiwan's defense against China
Amid growing tension between China and Taiwan, Republican senators unveiled a bill to give funding to bolster Taipei's defense. Photo by Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EFE

Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Amid growing concerns over China's military ambitions in Asia, a group of Republican senators introduced legislation Thursday to beef up Taiwan's defense against Chinese aggression.

The unveiling of the bill comes a day after the Pentagon released its annual China Military Power Report that on top of explaining that the Asian nation is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal said Beijing was ratcheting up pressure on Taiwan, which it views as a rouge state that it seeks to bring back under its sovereignty.

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In the last two months, China's military has deployed aircraft hundreds of times into Taipei's airspace and its defense minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, told lawmakers last month that the tensions with China are the "most serious" he has seen in four decades.

The Taiwan Deterrence Act introduced Thursday by Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will authorize conditionally bound $2 billion a year in foreign military financing for Taiwan and amend the Arms Export Control Act to improve the ability to transfer arms to the government while requiring an annual assessment on Taiwan's efforts to advance its defense to counter China.

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Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn.; John Cornyn, R-Texas; and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also introduced the act.

"China's increasing efforts to militarily overwhelm Taiwan is a treat to international diplomacy and regional security," Crapo said in a statement. "It is imperative to get asymmetric capabilities, training and readiness resources to Taiwan quickly so it can protect itself form China's encroaching aggression in the Indo-Pacific region."

The bill was announced amid low relations between the United States and China and as Washington fosters closer relations with Taiwan, raising the ire of Beijing.

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